21 Solved In ‘21 : Day 21 : Baby Andrew
On February 28, 1981, a man test driving a jeep in Sioux Falls, SD noticed a dark red blanket in a ditch. He thought it was odd, so he pulled the vehicle over and went to investigate. What he discovered would haunt him.
In a ditch near a cornfield, the man discovered a newborn infant swaddled in a blood-soaked blanket. The umbilical cord hadn’t been cut, and the placenta was still attached. The community mourned the infant, and named him Andrew John Doe. He was given a funeral and toys, and a pin saying “You are loved” was placed on his pajamas.
Authorities never gave up the search for who could have left baby Andrew on the side of the road.
On March 8, 2019, the Sioux Falls Police Department announced that they found his mother. His mother was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter. Andrew’s father was not charged, as authorities said they learned through interviews that the man was unaware he even had a child.
Andrew’s mother told authorities that she was “young and stupid,” at the time of her pregnancy, and chose to hide her pregnancy from everyone close to her. She gave birth alone in her apartment before driving to the ditch where she left her child on that freezing day.
She admits to having seen news coverage about baby Andrew’s funeral, but refused to believe it was her child. Andrew's mother was found using genetic genealogy. She now has 2 adult children with her husband.
She pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter under an Alford plea, which means that she accepted the ramifications of a guilty verdict without having to admit to the crime. On December 2, 2021 she was sentenced to 10 years on the charge of first-degree manslaughter. However, nine of those years were suspended, and she was credited 73 days towards time served. With parole eligibility in South Dakota being what it is, she will be eligible to leave prison after around 60 days from sentencing.
Factors in this sentencing determination included an autopsy that determined it was unlikely the baby died in the cold, but rather shortly after childbirth. An inability to determine the true cause of death lent itself to more lenient sentencing.
Her adult children all spoke on her behalf at the trial.